Equifax urges consumers to keep their pins to themselves as new data reveals that £1.5 million lost in PIN scams in last 12 months

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New data reveals that £1.5 million has been lost in PIN scans within the last 12 months, Equifax give their top tips on protecting against ID fraud.

According to new data from the UK Payments Council, scams to dupe people into giving out their PINs is clocking up more than £1.5 million in losses. Indeed, over £750,000 has been lost through this fraud in just the first four months of 2012. Leading identity fraud expert, Equifax, is therefore supporting the UK Payments Council’s warning for consumers to be more wary of what personal information they give out that could help a fraudster commit identity fraud.

Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director at Equifax, comments, “These new figures are alarming as they reveal that people are still not taking enough care of their personal information and do not fully understand the risk of ID fraud. We can not stress enough how important it is for consumers to keep their details completely to themselves, and to make sure they think twice before handing out any personal information, even to people they feel they can trust.”

“It is vital that consumers do not make it easy for fraudsters who are continually coming up with new ways to obtain our personal information,” continues Munroe. Consumers need to ensure they remain the only person who knows their PIN codes.”

In a survey conducted by Equifax**, 32% claimed they use just 1to3 PIN codes for all of their debit or credit cards and online accounts and in the same Equifax survey, 76% confirmed they use their Mother’s maiden name as a password or prompt. We would encourage consumers to avoid doing this as it is quite easy for fraudsters to work out, especially those who know their victim.

“It can take just three pieces of personal information for a fraudster to assume someone else’s identity and use it to potentially access their personal details” added Neil Munroe. “Equifax is therefore urging consumers to take all the precautionary steps possible to protect themselves from fraud and we have created some top tips to help”

Equifax’s top tips for protection against ID fraud
o    Apply for a copy of your credit report so that you can monitor any changes to your accounts, etc
o    No matter how much you trust your friends, work colleagues, do not give out your PIN number under any circumstances
o    Never give out your personal details on the phone or by email until you know exactly who you are dealing with and that they are from a legitimate organisation. If you doubt the request is genuine, contact the company directly
o    Do not carry around key personal documents – such as Driving Licence or Passport – unless you genuinely need them and keep them secure at home and when abroad
o    Never tell anybody your PIN, keep it secure and never write it down
o    Don’t include common verification such as your date of birth or your mother’s maiden name
o    Be careful of what you carry around in your handbag or wallet. Credit Card receipts, payslips, driving licence, bank statement, utility bill…these all reveal a lot of information about you and a combination of these can be a fraudsters dream
o    Make sure you dispose properly of any bills or bank statements with your account details on after checking them for any unusual activity.
o    Check you have logged out properly when using any online banking, so that your details aren’t visible to anyone else.
o    Ensure you have the latest virus protection that ideally updates hourly and you have a Firewall

Equifax also recommends that consumers regularly monitor their credit report to be able to identify if any unauthorised activity occurs that might be signs of a fraudster at work.

Tackling the threat of identity theft and fraud, Equifax Identity Watch Pro gives consumers unlimited instant, easy online access to their latest credit file, with automatic alerts within 24 hours of key changes to their credit report. It costs £7.50 per month. Or for just £2.99 per month, Equifax Identity Watch Lite makes monitoring a credit report easy by automatically alerting the individual within seven days of key changes.

**Equifax Identity Fraud Survey of 939 Consumers, June 2010

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Louise Fowler
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